25 years ago, one of the worst atrocities since the Second World War took place in Srebrenica, Bosnia. More than 8000 innocent lives were tragically lost during the genocide in the Bosnian town.
On 11 July 1995 thousands of Bosnian Muslims were murdered by the Army of Republika Srpska – their only crime was their faith. The army set out to ‘ethnically cleanse’ and systematically remove Bosnian Muslims. More than twenty years on, mass graves are still being uncovered and bodies still being identified.
This week, the Mayor of Harrow, along with Cllr Sue Anderson raised the Srebrenica flag outside the Civic Centre ahead of Saturday 11 July, where we will pause and reflect on the events, as well as remember the victims and their families.
Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Nitin Parekh said:
“One of the most horrible things anyone can do is try and divide communities. Remembering Srebrenica reminds us of how important it is – especially in these current uncertain times - to stand up against hatred and come together during times of need.
“What happened in Bosnia was horrific and no one should ever witness such atrocities. Today we remember the victims and their families affected by the this war, and we also reaffirm our commitment to continue good community relations and respect for one another so we and future and generations can live in a more cohesive society.”
Questions were and are still raised about how this was allowed to happen. Many lessons were learnt, the most important of all - to never to turn a blind eye to hatred and inhumanity before its too late. For Srebrenica, it was the hatred left unchecked that tore and divided communities with it destroying lives, friendships and families.
Cllr Sue Anderson, cabinet member for community engagement and accessibility said:
“What happened in Srebrenica is the outcome hatred against a single community. It was atrocious where thousands of men lost their lives – all because of their ethnic background. When I visited Bosnia, it was an overwhelming experience and I was moved by heartbreaking testimonies of the survivors.
“Remembering Srebrenica is an important reminder of how important it is to stand up to any form of hatred – not matter how big or small. This year’s theme is Every Action Matters – because if we stand silent and don’t do anything now, the problem will always be there for generations to come, and we never want to see these atrocities repeat itself again.”
Remembering Srebrenica commemorates the victims of the genocide. It’s marked internationally each 11 July – the anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica. You can read more about the Srebrenica genocide at www.srebrenica.org.uk .